It’s difficult to miss the hustle and bustle in the city streets and the quantity of hanging lights from homes and trees. You’ve noticed how excited people become this time of year and you begin to wonder: What is the meaning behind many of these celebrations? Here is a brief look at some of the winter celebrations and holidays around the world.
Hanukkah – December 16 – December 24 (Dates are for 2014)
For eight days each November or December, Jews light a special candleholder called a menorah. They do it to remember an ancient miracle in which one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in their temple. On Hanukkah, many Jews also eat special potato pancakes called latkes, sing songs, and spin a top called a dreidel to win chocolate coins, nuts, or raisins.
Christmas – December 25
People celebrate this Christian holiday by going to church and narrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity. On this December day, families spend time together and start the morning by exchanging various gifts. In some parts of Europe, “star singers” go caroling — singing special Christmas songs — as they walk behind a huge star on a pole.
Chinese New Year – January 21 – February 20
Many Chinese children dress in new clothes to celebrate Chinese New Year. People carry lanterns and join in a huge parade led by a silk dragon, the Chinese symbol of strength. According to legend, the dragon hibernates most of the year, so people throw firecrackers to keep the dragon awake.
Kwanzaa – December 26 – January 1
Kwanzaa, a holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture. Celebrated annually from December 26th through January 1st. Kwanzaa is a more recent observance, known as First Fruits celebration, dating back to December 26, 1966 in Los Angeles, California. The First Fruits celebration dates back to ancient Egypt and Nubia times.
LEARN MORE: WINTER CELEBRATIONS
- What winter celebrations or holidays does your family share at home?
- Google search the following phrase: winter celebrations or winter holidays. What interesting research did you find?